Volcanoes, politics and religion

Whether to climb up a tiny volcano, climb in, and float around in a pool of warm mud isn’t a decision I ever imagined I would be faced with. So, when Katy asked if I thought we should do it, I said sure.


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Shopping in Cartagena and the castle destroying dog of Isleta

After a great day at Playa Blanca, we decided to spend some time wandering around the walled city.

Our primary mission was a stop at the market stalls at Plaza de las Boveda so Katy and Ella could do a little shopping.

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Getting away to Playa Blanca

With daytime temperatures reaching the mid 30’s in Cartagena, a trip to the beach was a pretty obvious activity. Fortunately, Katy had planned for this. While there are many beaches around town, they’re not the nicest and several people suggested we make the trip out to Playa Blanca.

It turned out to be advice we’ll happily pass on to others.

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Cartagena: A bike ride and dinner in prison

Time for us to set out again. This time Cartagena, Colombia.

We’d been talking about coming to Colombia for over a year. In fact, the original plan for our winter trip last year was Colombia before it got too expensive and complicated, and we opted for Chile. All that to say, no, we didn’t decide to go to Colombia after watching Narcos on Netflix.

Sometimes cheaper isn’t always better.

If you’re reading this you may know that I’m involved in a new company, the DX Institute. The trade-off for getting to pursue this new opportunity, is the loss of a stable corporate pay cheque. Something that comes in handy when faced with the unfortunate reality of travel costs. As part of our temporary family belt-tightening plan we had a temporary travel ban. I think it lasted 6 weeks. Then Katy found a deal that was too good to pass up. So, here we are.

How good was this deal you ask? Continue reading “Cartagena: A bike ride and dinner in prison”

Climbing around Valparaiso

Our last stop in Chile was Valparaiso. The city rose to prominence as a major stop on the route to California during the 1849 Gold Rush. Today it’s better known for steep hills and street art.

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Exploring Vina del Mar

Located just around the bay from Valparaiso is the town of Vina del Mar. Among other things, Vina del Mar is home to a giant Flower Clock built when Vina del Mar was one of the host cities for the 1962 World Cup. for a quick look around we met up with Tours-4-Tips again.

Though the two cities seem to be growing into one, Vina del Mar is an interesting contrast to Valparaiso. While Valparaiso is very bohemian, full of street art and narrow, steep roads, Vina del Mar is much more polished and orderly.

After our tour we had a little lunch at the Sheraton Hotel on the coast where Ella took great pleasure from being in charge of scaring birds away from our table.


On the drive back from Vina del Mar we decided to stop for a little sandboarding.

Just north of Vina del Mar, in a town called Concon, is a large dune field called, not surprisingly, Dunas de Concon. The dunes are located along the coast between the water and the road. This makes for an interesting view on the top with the Pacific coast on one side and a shopping centre on the other.

After looking for a parking lot, we realized that we just needed to stop on the side of the road next to the guy with a stack of sandboards. For about a dollar we had a board and set off up the dune.

Fortunately, in a stroke of genius Katy remembered that we should bring some socks which saved our feet from the burning sand. The ratio of walking to boarding was probably 10:1 but it was still a fun way to spend an hour.

From the dunes we had a quick stop at the beach before heading back to our apartment in Valparaiso and checking out some more graffiti.


Sadly, the end of our time in Valparaiso also means the end of our trip.

On the way to the airport the next day, we did manage to fit in one last treat, with a stop at Casas del Bosque for lunch and a glass of wine.

We really enjoyed our time in Chile. So much so, that I wouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves back again before we’ve finished visiting the rest of the world. For now, it’s back to Toronto and planning for our next destination.

Christmas in Colchagua

When deciding how to spend the few days around Christmas during our trip, we took a cue from our trip to South Africa and booked a couple of nights in Colchagua, one of Chile’s wine regions.

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Visiting the world’s SECOND?! largest swimming pool

When I started writing this post, I thought we had recently visited the world’s largest swimming pool at San Alfonso del Mar. It turns out this might not be entirely true…


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Floating around Pucon

White water rafting has always intrigued me. We had a taste while canoeing on the Belize River back in 2009. At the time, I certainly didn’t think the next time I went down a rapid (even a lowly class II) it would just be me and a three year old in the boat.


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Exploring Miradores Los Crateres

I’m a big city kid, but when we’re travelling I find that unless you have a local to show you around, despite their differences, big cities all feel like big cities. My favourite parts of our travels have always been when we are active, which makes Pucon a great place.

With Ella we’re a bit limited, i.e. we won’t be climbing to the summit of Volcan Villarrica, like those in the picture below, but there’s still some good hiking to be found.

Those little dots are groups of people we’d like to be joining on their way up.

Continue reading “Exploring Miradores Los Crateres”

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